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Killer gets 24 years

PUBLISHED: 12:45 16 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:56 25 August 2010

A FAILED asylum seeker has been sentenced to a minimum of 24 years after battering a man to death before ransacking his flat.

A FAILED asylum seeker has been sentenced to a minimum of 24 years after battering a man to death before ransacking his flat.

Mossab Belhocine, 19, of Forest Road, Walthamstow, kicked and stamped on 28-year-old David Cooper so hard he left an imprint of his trainer on his face when he robbed him in his flat in Sir Martin Bowes House, Calderwood Street Woolwich.

Leaving Mr Cooper dead, he went on to steal his play station, DVD player, flat screen TV, laptop, two bracelets and his oyster card.

The Algerian was refused asylum in the UK seven months before the murder on November 19 last year (08) but was left free to commit crime to feed his drug habit.

Belhocine was convicted for murder and robbery at the Old Bailey.

Sentencing him last Friday (10) Judge Stephen Kramer QC said: "I am satisfied that you are a man that preys at night on people more vulnerable than you and in order to do so you are prepared to use whatever violence necessary."

The murderer was arrested five days after the killing after police monitored the victim's Oyster card usage and lay in wait for him at his local Blackhorse Road tube station.

During the trial Belhocine claimed the victim tried to rape him after inviting him back to the flat.

He first came to the UK in 2005 on a visitor's visa but then returned to his native Algeria.

He arrived back in London in April 2007 on a similar visa and applied for asylum in March 2008 under the name of Adam Saidi, giving a birthday which made him two years younger than he actually was.

His application was refused in April last year.

After watching hundreds of hours of CCTV police discovered Mr Cooper, who had been drinking with friends in Soho, met Belhocine by chance at Trafalgar Square in the early hours of November 19 last year.

At 3.30am, both men are seen getting off the N53 bus close to Mr Cooper's flat.

When his Mr Cooper's younger sister Tracy was asked outside the court to comment on Belhocine being allowed to stay in country after his asylum application was refused, she said: "Not matter how much you speak, nothing can be done about it.

"Nothing will ever bring my brother back."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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